Previous Post: The Sublime Ones
From slamming those who think they have found the answers, Zarathustra moves on to the fragmented belief system of present day men.
* * *
I flew too far into the future and horror seized me. When I looked around me, time was my sole contemporary. Then I flew backwards, homewards, ever faster. I came to you, you present day men, and to the land of culture.
For the first time I saw you, desiring to find good; truly, I came with longing in my heart. But how did it turn out? Although alarmed, I had to laugh! I had never seen anything so variegated in colour! I laughed and laughed, while my foot still trembled, and my heart as well.
“Here, indeed, is the home of all paint pots,” I said.
To my astonishment, you sat there with fifty patches painted on your faces and limbs, you present day men! You had fifty mirrors around you, which flattered your play of colours, and repeated it! Truly, you could wear no better masks, you present day men, than your own faces! Who could recognize you! Written all over with the characters of the past, with these characters also pencilled over with new characters, you have concealed yourselves well from all who would decipher you!
And though one is a trier of the reins, who still believe that you have reins! You seem to be baked out of colours and out of glued scraps. All times and peoples gaze in diverse colours out of your veils. All customs and beliefs speak, diversely coloured, out of your gestures. He who would strip you of veils, wraps, paints, and gestures, would just have enough left to scare the crows.
Truly, I myself am a scared crow that has seen you naked and without paint. I flew away when the skeleton ogled me. I would rather be a day labourer in the netherworld, among the shades of the dead! They are fatter and fuller than you, the denizens of the netherworld!
It is bitter to my stomach that I can neither endure you naked nor clothed, you present day men! All that is sterile in the future, and whatever makes stray dogs shiver, is truly more homely and familiar than your “reality.”
“We are wholly real, and without faith and superstition,” you say.
So you preen yourselves, even without feathers! How would you be able to believe, you diversely coloured ones!, you who are images of all that has ever been believed? You are walking refutations of belief itself, and a dislocation of all thought. Therefore, I call you untrustworthy.
All eras argue against one another in your spirits. The dreams and babblings of all eras were more real than your consciousness! You are unfruitful; therefore you lack belief. But he who always has to create his presaging dreams and astral premonitions believes in believing!
You are half open doors at which grave diggers wait. This is your reality: “Everything deserves to die.” You stand there before me, you unfruitful ones; how your ribs stick out! Surely many of you know this.
“Surely a god has secretly stolen something from me while I slept?” many a present-day man says. “Enough to make a maiden for himself from it! I have amazingly few ribs!”
You present day men are laughable to me, especially when you marvel at yourselves! Woe to me if I could not laugh at your marvelling, and had to swallow all that is repugnant on your plates!
As it is, I will make light of you, since I have to carry a heavy load. What does it matter if beetles and June bugs also alight on my load? That won’t make it heavier for me! My great weariness won’t arise from you, you present day men.
Where should I ascend to with my longing? I look out for fatherlands or motherlands from all mountains, but nowhere do I find a home. I am unsettled in all cities, and leave from all gates.
Present day men, to whom my heart recently impelled me, are alien to me, and a mockery. I am exiled from all fatherlands and motherlands. I love only my children’s land, undiscovered in the remotest sea. I set sail to search for it. I will make amends to my children and to all the future for being the child of my forefathers and for this present day!
So said Zarathustra.
Next Post: Immaculate Perception